Green Belt in Long Ditton

Long Ditton councillors, Shweta Kapadia, Barry Fairbank and Neil Houston wish to dispute the statement made by Hinchley Wood/Long Ditton Green Belt group that they are doing nothing to protect the Green Belt.  All three of them are working hard and will continue to work hard to protect the Green Belt. All councillors recognize the need for housing but do not agree with building on the Green Belt.

Every single councillor in Elmbridge is against building on the Green Belt.  An application for over 1,000 homes in Green Belt in Walton was unanimously refused by the Residents’ Association (RA), Tory and Lib Dem councillors.  The borough has poured vast resources into defending the Drake Park Appeal last November to defend Elmbridge Green Belt. But the national government has ignored the will of the people and the borough and the application will now be determined by a Conservative Secretary of State – till recently Sajid Javid and now James Brokenshire. The Drake Park decision was however ‘deferred’ only a few days ago until after the Elmbridge Election.  Just weeks ago Sajid Javid allowed 300 homes in the Green Belt in Effingham, Guildford, although the parish and borough refused permission. There is an appeal still outstanding for Wisley (2,000 homes) which will similarly be determined by a Conservative government minister.

Are local Conservatives going to defy their national government and not build on the Green Belt or in fact not build the 12,500 homes this Conservative government wants to build in Elmbridge? Conservative councillors in other Surrey districts have allowed building on the Green Belt. Tandridge Council is planning a whole new village in the Green Belt. Guildford has released land in the Green Belt. Are Elmbridge Conservatives going to be the only ones in the country to defy their Government?

Only the Liberal Democrats and the Residents’ Association councillors can defy this Conservative government. The Residents’ Association / Liberal Democrat coalition administration has done just that: they have lobbied and put considerable pressure on Dominic Raab and Philip Hammond, Elmbridge’s two MPs. But being Conservative both of them are toeing the national party line and will not say that the Green Belt should not be built on even though they know the borough’s residents are against it. The RAs / Lib Dem administration has also protested to Sajid Javid highlighting the deficit in infrastructure provision in Elmbridge. The administration responded robustly against the large amount of housing that this Conservative government is attempting to force on Elmbridge.

Regards the Elmbridge consultation in 2016/17 on the new Local Plan and Green Belt review – the facts of the matter are: All Elmbridge councillors voted UNANIMOUSLY for the consultation on the Strategic Options which took place in December 2016. The minutes of the meeting of full council held in December 2016 clearly show that.

Until Tory politics on the Local Plan started, Tories, RAs and Liberal Democrats worked on this together. There are the Conservatives and three RAs and only one Liberal Democrat on the Local Plan Working Group so the Tories have a strong voice on this working group and they agreed to the consultation.

There is a large amount of mis-information circulating. Since the public consultation in December 2016 Elmbridge Borough Council has not produced any specific proposals in relation to the Local Plan and there has been no vote in the council on building on the Green Belt for the Conservatives to have opposed it.

Councillors’ Allowances

In the recent Conservative Party manifesto they say

“They even put up their personal allowances by 12%”

Here is the truth

Coupled with the reduction in the number of councillors, the overall councillor pay bill was reduced by £22,547 a year.  In 2008/09 the total councillor allowances and expenses came to £389,296.  In 2017/18 the total was £338,855, a reduction of over 13% or £50,000.

In May 2016 the number of councillors of Elmbridge borough was reduced 60 to 48.  This move was supported by the Liberal Democrats who would rather have had the number of councillors set to 32 or even fewer.

In consideration of this reduction in the number of councillors and the consequent increase in workload, the the independent body that recommends councillors’ pay decided to undertake a comprehensive review of councillors’ pay in Elmbridge.

The Liberal Democrats view was whatever the review body recommended, we would accept it.

The review decided that councillors should be paid less than £7 an hour (the minimum living wage is £8.75-£10.20). Some pay would be cut, others increased – depending on the workload involved.

The Liberal Democrats voted to implement the recommendations of the independent review body. The Conservative did not.  So the Conservatives voted to set up an independent review body to remove the possibility of councillors setting their own pay and then – when the review body reported its findings – voted against the findings.

The review was coherent and comprehensive – see the report for yourself Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel – September 2016.

Vicki Macleod (Weybridge Riverside)

Vicki Macleod (Weybridge Riverside)

Vicki is a long term resident of Weybridge with a strong history of action in the community.

She is a Founder Member of the ElmWey Learning Trust, and was a Governor at Heathside School from 2010 to 2016 when the Trust was established. She has a strong interest in the wellbeing of pupils in the Trust’s schools and of vulnerable members of our community. She continues to be involved with local charities for the elderly as a Trustee of the Weybridge Old Folks Club.

If elected as councillor for Weybridge Riverside, Vicki will bring her considerable knowledge of Weybridge and professional skills, developed in a number of management and business roles, to this work.

I will do my utmost to ensure that, in these times of austerity, Elmbridge Borough acts in the best interests of all who live in Elmbridge, as well as seeking to bring much needed improvements to Weybridge.”

1. Vicki Macleod is a long-term resident of Weybridge, having moved here to work with Surrey Special Schools in 1991. She is well known locally and is embedded in the community through her work with charities for the elderly and with Heathside School. Vicki brings energy, interest and commitment to all she is involved in.

2. Vicki fully will work for more affordable and council housing, careful stewardship of the environment and to ensure our towns are great places to live. She supports the restoration and improvement of health provision in Weybridge and a future-proof ap-proach to traffic and parking in Weybridge.

Graham Winton (Oatlands and Burwood Park ward – Cllr 1983-2007)

Promoting a community in Oatlands and Burwood Park!

Graham Winton is standing in the borough elections because he wants to build a civic community in the ward.  We all have our interests, problems, pastimes and needs. We can all benefit from a community spirit. The ward needs an identity.

If elected Graham will strive to
• promote a thriving Oatlands Village Centre
• integrate the major schools in the area (Cleves and Oatlands First)
• manage traffic in all the major through roads particularly pressing for “20mph is plenty” where there is congestion, vulnerable school chil-dren or residents
• promote cycling and walking in place of car journeys
• encourage a better use of large open spaces in the ward for recrea-tion, fitness and sport.

Electing a Liberal Democrat as your councillor will always secure you a willing community worker, such as Graham Winton.

1. There is a lack of a community feeling in a ward that sprawls. Schools, churches, shops, businesses and residents need to work together to solve problems and create op-portunities. Cooperation creates the right kind of progress which generates community wellbeing.

2. I would work with all parties on the council to seek solutions to problems as they arise. I would hold regular meetings with ward residents to discuss issues. I would be an enabler to hold those responsible to take action where needed, for example, police, county council, health services, social services, fire services not just the borough council.

Mike Rollings (Claygate)

Mike Rollings was brought up in Claygate and after a career elsewhere he returned to ‘the best village I know’. He works in finance as a restructuring and insolvency practitioner in London.

Mike finds Claygate and its atmosphere a perfect antidote to the busyness of a big city. And that is what he wants to protect and enhance.

If elected as a councillor Mike will work in close collaboration with Mary Marshall and Alex Coomes, Claygate’s two other councillors.

These will be Mike’s priorities as one of Claygate’s three Elmbridge Borough councillors:

  • Campaign for more well-located secondary school places for our children
  • Support sensible planning, but oppose out-of-character or out-of-proportion applications
  • Put pressure on Surrey to fix the dangerous potholes and ensure quality road repairs
  • Work to maintain the vibrancy of The Parade, our retailers and businesses
  • Protect our precious Green Belt which makes Claygate a great place to live
  • Encourage community sports, community activism, culture and neighbourly conduct
  • Assist seniors, youths, families and vulnerable people with appropriate services
  • Enable increased recycling, reduce cost of waste disposal and control fly-tipping

Mike’s campaign theme ‘Our Kind of Claygate’ reflects his commitment to a high quality of life in the village.

1. Claygate faces several issues: dangerous potholes, the scourge of fly-tipping, missing school places, non-affordable housing, threat to our retailers, vital services for the elderly, youths and families. Above all the need to protect the Green Belt and the village from over-development.

2. I will work with Claygate’s two other Lib Dem councillors, Mary and Alex, to tackle the above issues.  Press Surrey for more school places and maintaining roads and pavements. Work on Elmbridge’s plan to build affordable homes, fight to protect the Green Belt, support local shops and businesses, engage with young and old, and maintain Claygate’s unique character.

Francisca Oxley (Thames Ditton)

Francisca has been a local resident for nearly twenty years, living in Esher, Hinchley Wood and Thames Ditton. Her three children currently attend Thames Ditton Junior School and Hinchley Wood Secondary School.

Alongside her work in London as a sales & marketing director, she has always volunteered locally. This includes co-charing the Friends committee at Cranmere Primary School and managing the local foodbanks.

Francisca says: “I want to be your councillor, so that I can serve the fantastic local community here in Thames Ditton. Issues like transport, flood protection, school places are all really important and impact on people’s daily lives.”

Following Brexit Francisca got involved in lobbying national and EU parliaments to protect European citizens’ rights. “Unfortunately Brexit now distracts from pressing issues like housing, health and social care, and education. I encourage voters to support me as somebody who connects local politics with a pro-Europe stance at the national level.”

1. I am a local resident in Thames Ditton, with kids in the local schools (TDJS and HWS). Therefore I want to be your councillor, so that I can serve the fantastic local community here in Thames Ditton. Issues like transport, flood protection, school places and planning are all really important and impact on people’s daily lives. These cannot all be solved at the local level.

2. Following Brexit I got involved in lobbying national and EU parliaments. Brexit distracts from solving pressing issues like housing, health, social care and education. I encourage voters to support me as somebody who connects local politics with the national level.

Paul Nagle (Molesey West)

Paul Nagle has lived in Molesey for over twenty years. He works in science publishing and professional associations focused mainly on water, environment, agriculture and nutrition.

A lifelong Liberal and NUJ member, he is keen to see more effective local democracy to ensure people no longer feel remote from local councils – and that those councils are run more effectively. In our own area in Elmbridge we need a stronger focus on housing, most particularly affordable housing which is essential for many key workers and our own children.

We also need to give greater attention and priority to improved environmental policies such as sustainability, minimizing waste and fly-tipping.

1. There is a desperate need for (truly affordable) homes with the necessary services (po-licing, health social care etc) and physical infrastructure (transport, parking, etc), and supporting local shops and businesses so they thrive. These need addressing seriously in Molesey and Elmbridge as a whole.

2. I’d use all the leverage as a councillor to reconnect Molesey’s people with the decision-making that affects their community. This means facilitating contacts between the resi-dents and the council and its officers, both Elmbridge and Surrey. And all other key stakeholders who contribute to the wellbeing of the community. Being an active ‘con-nector’ and ‘facilitator’ would enhance wellbeing and bring progress.

Margaret Hawkes (Walton North)

Margaret Hawkes is standing as the Lib Dem candidate in Walton North this May. Walton North covers an area north of the town centre from the Thames down to Ambleside Avenue.

Question: if you live in Walton North, where do you play tennis? How far would your children have to walk to a tennis court?
Question: what kind of phone signal do you receive? The council can block planning permission for phone masts, no phone mast, no signal.
Question: how safe are our roads for pedestrians, especially at night?

Margaret answers: “Your local council can work to make everyday life bet-ter for you, or it can be swayed by minority voices to block improvements to our lives. If I am elected, I shall work for the residents of Walton North to ensure that the council improves their life quality and is not a forum for pro-test movements that stop and delay beneficial changes.”

1. I’ve lived in Walton for forty years and as a local resident I am only too aware of the problems that are faced by my fellow residents, from finding good quality school places, to the problems of parking, from the child care to the care of the frail elderly. But, many people feel ‘politicians’ are not taking note. This lack of trust needs work, and deeds not words.

2. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I want to help build a fairer and more open society where all our citizens are valued and they have a stake in our society. As a councillor, it will be a privilege to help in this process, to empower the local community so that the voice of all can be heard. I believe that a local councillor should work to make people’s lives better.

Dorothy Ford (Oxshott and Stoke D’Abernon)

Dorothy Ford has been a resident of the Oxshott and Stoke d’Abernon ward for 35 years. While raising a family here, she taught French and German before working on policy for the central government in White-hall. She helped set up the Cobham Library Community Hub and taught a young mother reading skills. Dorothy enjoys singing in choirs, walking, growing vegetables and playing with two tiny grandchildren.

As a borough councillor, Dorothy’s key aims will be to

  • – enhance our environment by improving litter collection and by extending Elmbridge Borough Council’s air quality monitoring system to our ward, where Oxshott High Street’s heavy traffic poses potential problems
  • – protect and enhance our local Green Belt, including along Blundel Lane
  • – urge the Council to invest in affordable housing instead of commercial properties, especially if new housing plans are proposed for our ward
  • – help ensure the availability of quality local schools, healthcare and social services

1. Because national government support to local authorities has fallen 77% since 2010, this ward is suffering from poor services – from pothole repairs to school budgets. Our Green Belt remains threatened by inappropriate housing plans. Our Tory MP ignores our views by supporting a “Hard” Brexit – making us poorer.

2. I aim to safeguard our environment by measuring air quality, improving litter management, protecting Green Belt by prioritising brownfield sites and town centre development. I will strive to enhance local education, health and care services.
I will promote strong, fair finances for example by reducing council’s commercial investments and instead promoting council investment in affordable housing.

Cllr Barry Fairbank (Long Ditton ward – elected since 2000)

Barry Fairbank Square

Barry has been an Elmbridge Councillor for Long Ditton since May 2000. Since 2000 he has been totally involved with the Long Ditton community, and still is. He was Group Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Elmbridge Council from 2011-2013, when he was elected Deputy Mayor. In spring 2014 he was elected as Mayor for 2014/15.

He is currently a member of the Cabinet as Portfolio Holder for the Environment and is a member of the Licensing Committee, the Mayor of Elmbridge Trust Fund and the  Elmbridge Local Committee.

Over time he has served on many Elmbridge Council Committees and working groups, including Overview & Scrutiny task and working groups covering a range of subjects including:- waste collection and disposal; council partnerships; council service performance; the dissemination of financial information; Overview & Scrutiny; the replacement Leisure Centre; customer service improvement; the Elmbridge Museum; land charge searches; the discharge of elderly people from hospital and others.

He has lived in Elmbridge for more than 23 years, living previously in Wimbledon. He is married to Gill a retired headteacher. They have two sons, one of whom is working in an educational charity which supports education in difficult localities, and the other in a company specialising in cyber security.

Barry was educated at Sir Walter St John’s Grammar School, Battersea and following the closure of the school has served as a Trustee of the residual body, providing educational grants to individuals, voluntary groups and project groups based in the former catchment area of the school.

Barry spent most of his working life in London starting at a merchant bank, Samuel Montagu, and subsequently joining a number of specialist investment management organisations including Invesco, NatWest, Midland Montagu and Gartmore. Before retiring, he become self-employed specialising in investment related financial investigations and risk appraisals.

Barry is also involved with a number of local organisations namely:- HomeStart Elmbridge; Long Ditton Village Hall; Long Ditton Youth Project and St Mary’s Church Community Hall. He is a governor at St Mary’s Long Ditton Junior School and was Chair of Governors for 7 years.  Other interests include: current affairs; sport; reading; walking; music; humour; and theatre.

Whilst a member of the Cabinet, Barry and fellow Lib Dems in coalition with the residents group have:

  • Started a social housing programme with properties in Cobham, Thames Ditton and Weybridge
  • Introduced a flexible parking strategy to serve our towns – including free parking on Saturdays
  • Created a new planning compliance team to ensure developers do not build without permission
  • Built a balanced property portfolio in Elmbridge to generate income to support Council services
  • Delivered the new regional quality sports hub in Walton
  • Replaced the under-performing Conservative grass verge and green spaces contract
  • Invested to enhance our public tennis courts in association with the Lawn Tennis Association
  • Implemented a new refuse collection contract which is providing a better service whilst saving money.
  • All this and delivering the lowest council tax rise (1.9%) in Surrey

When re-elected Barry will work with others towards:

  • Protecting the Green Belt
  • Building on our new programme of social housing, with an aim to provide social housing for 2,000 new homes across Elmbridge
  • Working to ensure Long Ditton stays a vibrant and pleasant place
  • Making the environment central to all borough policy initiatives
  • Ensuring that Community Infrastructure Levy is used correctly and will only be spent on extra health, education, transport and social infrastructure for Elmbridge

1. Barry considers housing and environment to be the two main issues in in both Long Ditton and Elmbridge. Long Ditton is a wonderful place to live, but young people and those in vital services find it unaffordable. Solving this problem would contribute to the whole community’s wellbeing – young and old, those working and those at home. But new housing must be achieved without a compromise on environment.

2. If elected Barry will champion local people’s needs, whether they are families, children in education, elderly needing care, vulnerable people or youths. He will also work in the council to help build 2,000 units of social housing in Elmbridge. This should be done respecting the integrity of the green belt and the environment. He feels strongly that our young people contribute to a thriving community and should be able to afford to live here.